The term “emergency powers” conjures images of crackdowns and rights abuses by authoritarian regimes. But emergency powers are also a standard feature of modern democracies—including the United States. Unknown to most Americans, Congress has passed more than a hundred laws that give the president special authority when he declares a national emergency, including powers to shut down communications facilities, freeze Americans’ bank accounts, and deploy troops inside the U.S. In a time when institutional checks and balances are being tested, do these extraordinary powers protect our democracy… or do they put it at risk?
Join the Brennan Center for Justice and R Street Institute for a symposium that will explore the deeply important and timely questions raised by presidential emergency powers in the U.S. Former government officials, scholars, and advocates will come together for a day of discussion including:
- An overview of the legal framework for emergency powers in the U.S., focusing on some of the most extraordinary powers in the president’s legal arsenal;
- Perspectives from the inside, featuring former executive branch officials with direct experience in governing during emergencies;
- A conversation about the risks vulnerable communities face in emergencies, and how to mitigate those risks; and
- Lessons we can draw from recent experiences with emergency powers in other nations.
Speakers will include:
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, United Nations (TBC)
Sahar Aziz, Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
William Banks, Professor of Law Emeritus, Syracuse College of Law
Rachel Brown, Executive Director, Over Zero
Nadia Firozvi, Project Manager for the Special Project on Fostering a Just and Inclusive Society, Democracy Fund
Christopher Fonzone, former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council
Elizabeth Goitein, Co-Director of the Liberty and National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice
Avril Haines, former Deputy National Security Advisor
Ashkhen Kazaryan, Director of Civil Liberties and Legal Research Fellow, TechFreedom
Rachel Kleinfeld, Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Michelle Mendez, Managing Attorney, Defending Vulnerable Populations Project, Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.
Eric Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics, UNC School of Law
Gabriel Negretto, Professor, Political Studies Division, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (C.I.D.E.)
Wendy Parmet, Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law and Director, Center for Health Policy and Law, Northeastern University
Saikrishna Prakash, James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, Princeton University
Arjun Sethi, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown Law
Tevi Troy, former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
Carl Wagner, former Associate Deputy General Counsel for Homeland Defense
Phil Wallach, Senior Fellow, Governance Project, R Street Institute
Speaker information will be coming soon. We hope you can join us!
E-mail any questions to Erica Posey at [email protected].